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What are your health rights?

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April 5, 2019

How do you learn your rights as a patient and health-system user? For most Quebecers, the answer is “I have no idea!” That’s why it’s so important the Foundation raises public awareness about enforcing rights, but also (and perhaps most of all!) that it makes sure patients are aware of their rights.

How do you learn your rights as a patient and health-system user? For most Quebecers, the answer is “I have no idea!” That’s why it’s so important the Foundation raises public awareness about enforcing rights, but also (and perhaps most of all!) that it makes sure patients are aware of their rights.

In April for World Health Day, the Foundation met with Nathalie Dubois, Assistant Director of the Fédération des centres d'assistance et d'accompagnement aux plaintes (FCAAP).

QBCF: For this World Health Day, what is FCAAP’s message to health- and social-service users?

ND: It is important to remember that health is a fundamental right and that, unfortunately, there are still many disparities in the availability of and access to quality care today.


QBCF: During the Foundation’s Forum on breast cancer, you will be taking part in the How to Enforce your Health Rights presentation. Can you tell us what these rights are for people affected by breast cancer?

ND: Did you know, for example, that if you are not satisfied with your doctor’s diagnosis, you have the right to ask for a second opinion? Are you also aware that you have the right to refuse a treatment? And if you think that these rights have not been respected, you can file a complaint.


QBCF: Why is it important to file a complaint?

ND: People often think, “What's the point? It won’t amount to anything.” But this just isn’t true! Filing a complaint is a constructive act that ensures your rights are respected, it corrects a problematic situation, and when complaints are taken as a whole, they improve the quality of the system’s care and service. Sometimes they even prevent an error or a failure from recurring.


QBCF: What is the procedure when a health-system user decides to file a complaint?

ND: Filing a complaint can seem like a long and complex process, especially when a patient is coping with the intense fatigue of breast cancer treatment. But know that you are not alone! The complaint assistance and support centres are there to help you.

I will be with you on May 11 at the Foundation's Forum on breast cancer, and will be very pleased to explain how to better understand and enforce your rights when it comes to your health.